Our innovation, development and technology transfer addresses the need for marine and coastal economy sectors to guarantee efficient use of resources to ensure the environmental, economic and social sustainability of their activity.

Bote pesquero pescando con redes en el mar

Our activity focuses on three fields of research:

1. Fisheries Management

At AZTI, we carry out research work in co-operation with the main European and worldwide fishing research centres to establish the scientific basis for the sustainability of marine environments and fishery resources. We contribute efficiently and equitably to the knowledge and integral assessment of the main species exploited by Basque fleets operating in seas and oceans around the world.

Our research work is conducted within the framework of international bodies such as ICCAT, IOTC, ICES/CIEM, NAFO, STEFC, etc., in which AZTI researchers are actively involved.

We participate actively in the drafting of the scientific guidance for management, on which the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources and activity is based, so that the respective administrations can establish management decisions and measures based on scientific knowledge of the state of the resources and the economy of the fleets.

Observation and data

We work with the fishing industry and its competitiveness

Through the Fish Sampling and Information Network we collect data regarding landings, discards and biological characteristics of catches, and economic data of the fleets and sale price of the different species. It is worth highlighting the major significance recently achieved by data related to fleet dynamics (ship location spatial data) which have started to be collected recently.

Our experts obtain information from different biologic parameters (population structure, growth, reproduction, natural mortality, etc.); behaviour parameters (distribution and migration) from different commercial species.

Integrated assessment and management of living resources

Preserving the sustainability of the marine environment

We provide advice to public administrations on the performance of campaigns for direct assessment of stock biomass through different methods (ichthyoplankton-based, acoustic, optical, etc.). We work hand-in-hand with companies in the sector performing joint research cruises.

We use novel methodologies to evaluate the state of stocks (including those with few data) to establish the status of resources, which take into account space-time, species multiplicity, different fleets that exploit them and their economic structure.

We have tools to enable simulation of different management scenarios and different catching rules andevaluate the bio-economic impact of management decisions on stocks and fleets.

We work hand-in-hand with companies in the sector performing joint research cruises for the adaptation of the fishing activity to the new European regulations.

Ecosystem approach to management

Our research work is conducted within the framework of international bodies

We investigate on the impact of natural variability and climate change in the dynamics of fishing resources. We simulate the consequences of exploiting species at a certain level and how this could impact other species which are caught with them. We carry out fleet profitability studies and provide advice for optimal adaptation of fleets to evolution of regulatory scenarios.

2. Fisheries Technologies

Efficiency of the fisheries sector in the sustainable exploitation of marine resources

At AZTI, we research technology alternatives to offer solutions that enable us to minimise fishing impact on the marine environment, improve operations on board fishing vessels and, particularly safety and occupational comfort at sea. We do this in close co-operation with the fisheries sector through research projects focused on three fields of activity:

Reduction of the environmental impact of extractive fishing

Improve selectivity and fishing survival and minimise discards

We look for alternatives that improve exploitation patterns of fishing gear (selectivity), minimising the associated undesired catch levels (discards) and fish survival. By doing so, we seek to optimise the fishing activity and adapt it to the regulatory requirements for the sustainable use of marine resources.

Fishing gear and its optimisation

We support the sector in improving fishing efficiency and optimising catch probability

We are working on increasing knowledge of the relationship between oceanographic parameters and fish distribution, as well as remote sensing technologies and our own IT software for the management of catches, complemented with the transmission of the vessel-land information.

We increase the safety of workers on-board through occupational risk prevention systems by models, as well as through the assessment and improvement of ergonomics of the different activities of the fishermen depending on the type of fishing.

Energy efficiency in the maritime-fishery sector

We analyse the vessel’s operational pattern in accordance with the particularities of each sector to understand the fuel consumption model and we consider technological or operational alternatives for its reduction, along with gas emission (analysis of the carbon footprint of sectoral fleets).

We develop innovative technology to optimise energy use: consumption monitoring and management systems as well as the use residual heat (ORC).

3. Aquaculture

At AZTI, we look for alternatives to meet the growing demand for fish.

We create technological solutions for the sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) of marine aquaculture in four fields:

  • Development of new species: studies of the biological cycle, nutrition, animal welfare, new ingredients, digestive and metabolic use of nutrients.
  • Design, development and optimisation of production systems: operational solutions, production management (business models, market studies, food strategies, monitoring systems), production technologies and systems (Big-Data and Industry 4.0).
  • Environmental Management of aquaculture: selection of sites, processing, environmental impact studies, quality of the environment, plankton and biotoxins, etc.
  • Food and Process Safety: Life Cycle Analysis, consumer perception, product quality, processing, eco-efficiency plans, valuation of by-products and optimisation of consumption, transformation and biotechnology.

We have two infrastructures for innovation in aquaculture at sea (1-hectare offshore plot in Mendexa and a floating structure in the port of Mutriku)